Alumni Investors Donate $1.4 Million to Accelerate Innovations

accelerator researchers and partners
Immunologist Arti Gaur, PhD (second from left), and chemist Glenn Micalizio, PhD (far right), are collaborating on a promising new therapy for brain cancer—and receiving entrepreneurial guidance from Barry Schweitzer, PhD, ’82 (far left) of the Technology Transfer Office and Jamie Coughlin (second from right) of the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship. Photo by Mark Washburn (March 2020).


Todd Sisitsky, MBA, D ’93, has a keen eye for high-performing, high-potential organizations. As a managing partner at the investment firm TPG Global, he has overseen healthcare investments of more than $12 billion. When he agreed to join the Geisel Board of Advisors—he’s now the chair—he was pleasantly surprised to learn that his alma mater had a world-class medical enterprise.

“Dartmouth is home to a high-impact medical community. If you want to have a broader impact on the world, this a great place to start,” he says. Sisitsky is one of five Dartmouth College alumni and healthcare investors who have committed $1.4 million in gifts to launch the Dartmouth Innovations Accelerator for Cancer. He is joined by Hoyoung Huh D ’91, founder of Healthcare & Humanity Foundation; Ross Jaffe D ’80, co-founder and managing director of Versant Ventures; Stephen Bloch D ’84, CEO of EvolveImmune Therapeutics and general partner of Canaan Partners; and Steven Rodgers D ’93, head of healthcare investing for Morgan Stanley Capital Partners.

A joint initiative of the Cancer Center, Geisel, and Dartmouth’s Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship, the Dartmouth Innovations Accelerator for Cancer will give Dartmouth researchers the support and entrepreneurial guidance needed to bring innovations to the marketplace for the benefit of cancer patients. It will also provide Dartmouth students with learning opportunities in biomedical entrepreneurship.

“The best, most efficient way for us to bring Dartmouth’s biomedical discoveries to cancer patients around the world is through entrepreneurship,” says Steven Leach, the Preston T. and Virginia R. Kelsey Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine and director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, which is jointly operated by Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock. A core component of Dartmouth’s The Call to Lead campaign, the Cancer Center aims to transform cancer care on a global scale through next-generation immunotherapy, precision prevention, entrepreneurship, and educating future leaders.

Launching This Fall

“Philanthropy can literally accelerate the development of new therapies and diagnostic tools—shaving off years from the pre-clinical and clinical trials timeline,” says Leach.

Leaders of the Accelerator have a goal of raising $15 million in philanthropy by 2022, and the Accelerator is a major priority within The Call to Lead. With this first round of support, the Accelerator will be launched this fall and sponsor its first projects this academic year. Biomedical research teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of local and national biotech leaders and venture capital investors who will select the most commercially promising projects that address unmet needs.

“We are grateful to these visionary alumni who have given of their time, expertise, and philanthropy to help us launch this effort,” says Leach. They are helping the Accelerator team build a network of alumni leaders and donors who will support the Accelerator through their professional engagement and personal philanthropy.

To learn more about the Accelerator, visit